Survey Shows Public Lands, Wildlife Form Common Ground for Montanans

Missoula, MT – The new University of Montana survey showing increasingly strong statewide support for public lands and wildlife underscores that conservation is a concern where Montanans from all walks of life find common ground.

The third biannual, bipartisan Public Lands Survey commissioned by the University of Montana’s Crown of the Continent and Greater Yellowstone Initiative released today found that a majority of the state’s likely voters support stronger protections for public lands, funding for conservation and wildlife and the Antiquities Act. Tracy Stone-Manning, the National Wildlife Federation’s associate vice president for public lands, said:

“The survey results make clear how much Montanans value our public lands, both for the economic benefits and the high quality of life they provide. Voters are saying they don’t want to see protections rolled back, including in nearly 700,000 acres of wilderness-quality areas that pending legislation could open to drilling and other development.

“What’s especially striking is how deep and growing the support for public lands and wildlife is among Montanans across the political spectrum. Republicans, Democrats, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, hikers – we all come together on conservation and our outdoor heritage,” Stone-Manning added.

David Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, said:

“This survey affirms once more how much Montanans value conservation, and that support just keeps growing. The survey also spotlights how conservation sentiment is just blowing up around several specific proposals that would affect Montana’s public lands. We hope that our decision-makers in Washington will heed the wishes of Montanans as they work on public land issues.”

Chadwick noted the poll shows that Montana hunters and anglers are especially supportive of conservation, with 80 percent saying they have hunted and 93 percent saying they have fished on public lands in the last five years. Sportsmen and women overwhelmingly ranked conservation issues as important when considering an elected officials’ records.

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